Tiger Woods-When Stellar Is Seen As Ordinary

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Tiger Woods currently suffers from unrealistic expectations brought about by his own past successes and the media’s portrayal of his current status.

Yet perceptually and psychologically we see Woods as a failure in part because he has not won a major golf tournament since 2008.  Few in their careers are lucky to win one. Yet Woods has won 14 majors.

Woods one of the most dominant golfers of all time if not the best of all time, has not won a major tournament in five years.  During this period he had made his way back to being rated the number one golfer in the world by winning other tournaments amassing huge earnings and resurrecting his personal life.

While most would take Wood’s record post his world dominant period, for Woods he is now seen as a player who can no longer win the big one, in what seems to be an interminable drought.

Yet on many occasions he has been projected by the media to be one of the favorites and well primed to win the next major tournament.

While there have been miraculous athletic comebacks to dominance, Woods is going to be hard pressed to replicate his previous status in the sport. Few athletes at 37 years of age get better and Woods has suffered his share of injuries.

It is just these factors which are the norm for athletes Woods age that are combining for inconsistent play where we see flashes of the old Woods mixed in with mediocre and at times pedestrian results.  Especially in the majors.

Those periods of brilliance fools others into believing that the old Woods will emerge. It is unlikely that he will.

Perhaps there are other reasons why Woods has not been the golfer he once was. I had written sometime back (http://psychologyofsports.com/2010/08/25/tiger-woods-a-psychological-analysis/  ) that Woods who had sexual compulsions-addictions would be hard pressed to replace these aspects of his life.

In addition, I indicated that the behaviors he was involved with while they were actually less than self-enhancing (losing his wife, endorsements and public humiliations) perhaps went hand in hand with his golf game. meaning that they were psychologically enmeshed and paired with his successes.

Yet there have been those who have written that Woods has straightened out his life with a new romantic relationship and bonding time spent with his children.

I never envisioned that the drought would be this long, and for Woods he is facing a far different golf landscape these days with bigger, stronger and younger players emerging, as well as veterans who have not suffered the physical and emotional insults Woods has. Thus the strong competition he faces.

In addition. Woods would often win by just stepping on the golf course and his air of invincibility is far gone giving others confidence that he can be beaten. This lack of a psychological domination factor cannot be underestimated.

There is also another interesting psychological perception that now surrounds Woods.  Since his relative decline and post dominant period Wood’s record would be seen as a stellar career for most other golfers, it is just not on the level he previously played on.

However, to put things in perspective and to be fair, with his return to the top of golf rankings this year, Woods once again became the highest-paid professional athlete, raking in an estimated $78 million in prize winnings, endorsements and appearance fees, according to Forbes.  Although that is still far off the estimated $110 million he earned pre-scandal in 2008.

And relative to his glorious past he is far off his own mark in all aspects of the game. But  relative to others Woods remains a top ranked golfer. Perhaps that is why we are waiting for  him to win another string of majors.

But it is poignant how stellar can be seen as ordinary when one has set the bar as high as Woods has, and for Woods at this point in his career, he is chasing his own shadow.